Main points of Iraq Study Group report as released in Washington Dec. 6, 2006

Iraq is sliding towards chaos that could trigger the collapse of Iraq’s government. The present policy is not working. The situation is grave and deteriorating and requires prompt action. The United States has invested huge resources in the Iraq war – almost 2,900 US military dead and $400 billion.
Among the group’s 79 recommendations are:
1. The US must restate it does not seek to control Iraq’s oil;
2. The Iraqi government must take prompt action to achieve national reconciliation, the restoration of order and the delivery of services.
The US will support the Iraqi government if they achieve progress milestones; otherwise this support will be reduced. The “stay the course” option is not recommended.
3. A new enhanced diplomatic effort must be made on a regional basis.
The primary mission of US forces in Iraq should evolve to one of supporting and training the Iraqi army. By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq.
There should be a fivefold increase in US trainers.
The United States must not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.
There is no magic formula to solve Iraq’s problems. But military action alone will not serve. The United States must focus on the broader issues and include Iraq’s neighbors in constructive engagement to create an international Iraq support group that will include Iran and Syria, Egypt and the Gulf States, the UN Security Council’s permanent members and the European Union.
The US must initiate active negotiations to establish a stable Israel-Palestinian peace. Co-chairman Baker declined to reply to questions on this recommendation. debkafile provides details in a separate report below as laid out in the group’s full report.
Iraq must not be divided into three sectors on ethnic lines under a weak central government. Devolution could not be managed in an orderly fashion without civil war.
These recommendations would apply to any government in Iraq and not just the incumbent in office today. Without a central government in place, there would be anarchy.
Members of the 10-member Iraq Study Group endorsed the report unanimously.
Further information was provided in reply to reporters’ questions.
The group’s report has a better chance of acceptance and success because of its comprehensive and bipartisan approach.
In engaging Iran in talks, nuclear issues should not be discussed.
Iran is the power with the single greatest leverage in Iraq today.
There are strong indications that Syria which has a lot of influence in the region would be in a position to help out in Iraq.
We cannot solve Iraq’s problems without talking to these two governments. You talk to our enemies not just your friends. In the Middle East everything is connected with everything else. There is no guarantee that this report will not be overtaken by events in Iraq. Therefore, decisions must be made by national Iraqi leaders with some urgency.

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